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a special wedding section

Choice Settings for a More Perfect Union

Locations: From the elegance of Hotel Bel-Air to the rustic chic of the Streisand Center, wedding professionals name the spots they like best for The Big Day.


"The setting is very pretty, private and intimate," Goldsheft says. "We've set up cakes on the tea garden patio, or in the indoor room that has French doors looking out on the gardens."

For a sophisticated, older or second wedding, she loves the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Center. "It's an art gallery that opens onto a veranda and lawn with sculptures. There are French doors all around, which makes it elegant and full of light, but I think it's perfect for an evening wedding because you can see the art. They only serve wine; no spirits or beer. It's not limited to an older crowd--I once did a Renaissance-theme wedding there for a bride in her mid-20s."

Sherman Library and Gardens

2647 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar 92625; (714) 673-2261.

CONTACT: Dorothy Woods.

GUESTS: 300 for indoor / outdoor weddings; 100 for indoor in winter.

COST: $4,000 flat fee.

THAT INCLUDES: the site, place for ceremony, parking, tables and chairs, on-site wedding coordinator, security guard.

THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE: catering and all extras.

BOOKED: six months to a year in advance.

Robert Mondavi Wine

and Food Center

1570 Scenic Ave., Costa Mesa 92626; (714) 979-4510.

CONTACT: any staff member can assist.

GUESTS: up to 200.

COST: $36 per person starting for lunch; $64 per person starting for dinner.

THAT INCLUDES: wine reception, three-course meal with unlimited wine, flower centerpieces, use of site, parking.

THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE: cake, set up for outdoor ceremony, tax and tip.

BOOKED: six months in advance. Only one wedding booked each day.


"The Beverly Hills restaurant Il Cielo is charming, just right for a wedding of about 80 to 120 guests," raves wedding coordinator Jennifer Loftfield of the Beverly Hills firm Joie de Vivre. "It has wonderful character and great upscale Northern Italian food. There's a romantic brick courtyard with trees, and inside it has a fireplace and frescoed ceiling, very Italian. But it's not what I would call rustic. It's whiter and lighter than that. It feels intimate and personal, as if you're in someone's home."

The restaurant just added a glass solarium, with a roof that rolls back, where brides can choose to hold the ceremony.

Il Cielo

9018 Burton Way, Beverly Hills 90211; (310) 276-9990.

CONTACT: Allison Myers, manager; Pasquale Vericella, owner.

GUESTS: up to 120.

COST: facility rental fee of $1,000 for an afternoon, $1,500, evening. Plus $55 per person meal charge, $3.50 per car valet parking charge.

THAT INCLUDES: hors d'oeuvres, four-course meal, cake. No additional ceremony fee charged.

THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE: beverage, tax and tip.

BOOKED: typically six to nine months in advance.


If a private garden wedding is the goal, caterer Pauline Parry of Good Gracious! Events suggests her favorite spot, the Wattles Mansion perched in the Hollywood Hills.

"It's secluded, yet right in the city, dramatic without being ostentatious," she says. Ceremonies are set up in the garden with guests seated between the hillside tiers. Though guests have access to the inside of the landmark house, the reception will largely take place outside, Parry says. She sets up the wedding cake in the middle of the house so it's prominently on view.

Part of the charm of the location is its position in the hills. "It's up high enough to see the view overlooking the city," she says. "At night you can see the city lights."

Wattles Mansion

1824 N. Curson Ave., Hollywood 90046; (213) 874-4005.

CONTACT: Stephen Sylvester, managing director.

GUESTS: up to 200.

COST: $1,600 for 100 or fewer; $2,500 for 100 to 200.

THAT INCLUDES: the location for the day.

THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE: everything else. Because the mansion is in a residential area, they require you hire valet parking attendants and have no amplified music.

BOOKED: If the date is available, as little as a week in advance.


The ultimate personalized wedding place is a tent, says florist Wayne Woods, owner of the Woods in Brentwood. Large white party tents, rentable from firms like Regal Rents, can be pitched anywhere, and Woods is quite fond of some of the tented weddings he's done in backyards. It's more work than having a wedding at a hotel reception room, but that's also the point: The wedding will look like no other.

"It's good for people who want to express themselves," Woods says. "You can turn a tent into anything you want and that's what's so much fun. There's no color, no nothing. You have this huge canvas and endless options. We did a Tuscan party last fall with gorgeous 19th century tapestries, sage green carpet and mahogany chairs. When Kelly Lynch got married, we did '50s French. You can't do that in other spaces where you're limited by fixtures in a room. And these are always the most enjoyable weddings. There's a different energy level."

Regal Rents

(310) 204-3382.

COST: white tents are 40 cents a square foot plus $75 round trip delivery. Clear tents are 70 cents a square foot plus $75 delivery. A standard tennis court-sized white tent, for example, will cost $3,027.

THAT INCLUDES: assembly, breakdown, delivery.

THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE: extras like dance floor, Astroturf, lighting, heating, generators, bandstand, tables and chairs.

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